House Bill 1177 Loss of office due to delinquent child support. Rep. Dvorak. Requires a state or local government officeholder who has been subject to a judgment: (1) of at least $15,000 for delinquent child support payments; and (2) for more than 30 days; to be removed from office. Passed the House 92 to 2. The two nay votes were Rep. Vernon Smith and Rep. Vanessa Summers.
This bill arises out of the case of Roseland City Council member David Snyder. Snyder was prosecuted by Rep. Ryan Dvorak’s father, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak. Michael’s wife and Ryan’s mother is apparently in charge of child support collections for the county. David Snyder’s current wife apparently ran against Ryan in the Democratic primary for the state representative seat. Snyder was about $90,000 in arrears for child support payments for his two teenage sons in Texas. Snyder had his real estate license yanked for his transgressions.
The law seems reasonable generally, my reservations with respect to laws introduced for particular cases notwithstanding. But, the Dvoraks’ frustrations with Mr. Snyder really resonate with me based on the facts described in the South Bend Tribune stories linked above. I’m a debt collector, so my tendency is to identify with creditors. However, I am perfectly aware that life gets out of hand sometimes and folks get into financial messes they can’t get out of. I work with folks who are at least making an effort to pay their debts. Some debt collectors immediately go the brass knuckle route. I generally have more success treating people with respect and trying to reach a reasonable accommodation.
But some people just don’t get it. They are obstinate. They aren’t going to pay their debt, and they don’t care what a court has to say about it. Nothing gets my hackles up faster than someone telling me what they will or won’t pay. Tell me sweet lies about how you’re really trying, you’re really sorry, but you just got into a jam and really, you’re going to pay next month. But make the lies plausible, make an effort to pay, and above all, do not tell me that you’re not going to pay, and I can’t make you. Because if you do that, I’m going to bring as much of the heavy handed mechanisms of the law to bear as I can to collect the debt. And when I suspend your license for damages from your uninsured auto accident, I’m not going to be moved by your lamentations that you can’t get to work without a license. I’m not going to care that garnishing 25% of your take home pay doesn’t allow you to pay your other bills. If you got to that point, it’s because you didn’t pay the original creditor, you didn’t work out a plan with the collection agency, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I sent you an initial demand, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I filed a lawsuit, you didn’t work out a payment plan when I got a judgment against you, and you didn’t work out a payment plan when I filed the first proceeding supplemental.
So that’s where my head is when I read the South Bend Tribune’s article about Sanders being $90,000 in arrears and then complaining about “debtor’s prisons” and the Dvoraks after his real estate license got suspended. If the situation has gotten this far, at some point, you have to look into a mirror.
[tags]HB1177-2007, debt collection[/tags]